Transit in France

January 30, 2009

Living in France thus far has been quite different than living in Canada. As soon as I stepped outside the airport the first thing that I noticed was the lack of snow. It was incredible to me to be seeing fields of nothing but green while everything in my hometown is coated in a sheet of white, and walking for 10 minutes back home would result in bright red thighs and numb toes!

Also, the transportation system here is incredibly easy to use, and really fast. I really like how the tram on a nearby street comes every 5 minutes. A strike began, though, today which resulted in a decrease in the amount of buses and the metros that were running. It reminds me so much of back home and the transit strike! (Not that it’s a good thing). That is the only thing that I do NOT miss from my hometown- the terrible transit system. It is completely ridiculous that the transit workers have been on strike since early December; it really made it difficult to get to work and to my exams. I really feel for the people that still have to deal with that.

In Lyon, all of the public institutions are currently striking with the transit workers, which means that the post office, the train station, and the airports are closed. Talk about mayhem! I’m not sure, really, how long it will last, but I hope not long, because I would like to send some things through the mail. I really hope that I get some letters from back home… email and skype are super convenient, but nothing is better than getting a letter.

Velo’v (Photo from Wikipedia)

Luckily the Velo’v system is still running at least! The Velo’v system consists of stations of bicycles strategically located across the city. All you have to do is swipe a certain card, and then you can take the bike with you until you reach the next station wherever you are going. It costs about 5 euros to sign up, and if you already have a public transit pass, than you can use them anytime, and the first hour is free!

Speaking though of transportation, most of the cars here look like Honda Hatchbacks. They are mostly triangular in shape, and quite small (due to the small roads and lack of parking, I’m sure). A couple of cars that I have seen here, that I have never seen in Canada include the Renault Clio hatchback and Peugeot. I’m personally kind of partial to Japanese cars such as Honda, but you hardly see them at all around here. The only Honda dealership that I’ve seen sells motorcycles. One car that I really like IS quite popular here, though! It probably wouldn’t surprise anyone that it is so popular in Europe, as it was prominently featured in the Italian Job movie… but it would be the Austin Mini!

Clio Hatchback (photo from Wikipedia)

There is a dealership in Lyon dedicated ONLY to the mini, as they are so popular. It used to be a part of the B&W dealership, but I suppose it warranted its own. Another type of car that you see a lot of is Mercedes Benz… most transport trucks and cabs seem to be Mercedes. It is strange to see them everyone here, when they are so rare in Canada, but it sort of reminds me of the film Valkyrie (although that film was set in Germany…)

Will write more another time ^^

Hope everyone is doing well ❤